Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Pursuit of Quality Time

 Over this past year as I’ve been focusing on my business more and more, I have become aware of the concept of “quality time” with my children.
What I’ve learnt though, is that no matter how tempting it is to do big activities to create “quality time” true quality comes with connection, interaction and involvement.
When I ask parents about whether they feel guilty within their parenting experience, most will reply yes and often this surrounds the issue of how much actual time they spend with their children. They fall into the trap of over compensating, working extra hard to afford expensive trips, outings or treats. The pull for “quality time” often falls into “quantity time” as parents rustle any spare hour they can find and arrange some event with their children. It’s at the core of the supermom/dad epidemic, as we are convinced our children will be damaged for life if we aren’t forever in their eyeline.
I love spending time with my children. Living day to day with my family is the reason why we homeschool as well as why I work from home. We enjoy each other’s company in every moment and I’m always silently thrilled each time our children talk about how they will always live at home and that we will have to move close to any university they decide to attend. I love travelling with them, taking them to a movie or out to dinner at Ikea. I love shopping with them or even going to a playground. However, what niggles me when I get too involved in one project isn’t the actual time I spend with my family, it’s the quality of it that I have to be consciously aware of.
I feel fulfilled, aligned with everything I am and want to be, when my son and I sit laughing together in his bed, really talking and connecting. I feel the same connection, each night, when  my girls and I watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix and give manicures. Those are the times that I feel present and focused. Those are the times when life sinks into a space of being lived.
We live in a time of smartphones, facebook and multi-tasking. Our attention and focus is split in a million directions, scattered for thinking half-thought thoughts. But when our children get in the middle of that, that’s when they feel neglected. It really has nothing to do with outings and money spent on them.
Eye to eye contact, really hearing their dreams and desires, discussing their questions and listening to their opinions, with no difference than we would a friend, that is the quality time I relish in with my children, and yet that is often what I resist if I’m not careful. With to-do lists mounting, sometimes the true attention goes by so quickly and I try to do too much at once.
Now saying that there is another balancing act. It can be easy to fall into the guilt trap if that sort of attention isn’t constant as well. It’s not a question of listening to each long, drawn out dream or story, only to be stressing about getting done what needs to be done. It’s also not the act of self sacrifice so many parents can fall into, where our children’s stories are put above our own.
I have my own business. I coach, I teach, I write. But my children, who at 14,13 and 7 have good ideas of who they are and how to play, have their own lives as well. They read, they play, they are busy in their own worlds. Sometimes, when I feel I’ve been working too hard, I go to “spend time” with them, only to find that I am intruding on their own focus, their own intention and I quietly go back to my world of wonder as well.
We are individual people, in each family, eager to enjoy the wonders and fruits of the world in front of us. It may feel like we are supposed to put life on hold for our children, but that is not the case. Our children want to see us in the fullness of ourselves, and being passionate about what we do and are. That’s what we want for our children as well. We have no wish to have shadows, having our children following us around waiting for our every word or wish.

It is in the ability of focus, the ability to listen with our hearts, eyes and ears, the inner knowing to drop everything because we are needed, the shared laugh over lunch, the smiles in passing, the connections a bedtime. Quality time, has, in fact, nothing to do with TIME, in quantified measurement, rather quality time means quality of life. A life that sparkles and dances when we and our children are in a room together, that is what creates a happy, stable childhood and home.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A new Thanksgiving Tradition

This past Sunday was the Canadian Thanksgiving...
I always talk about Thanksgiving and how it’s my favorite holiday in theory. What a wonderful idea, right? A holiday dedicated to appreciation and a feeling of thankfulness for what we have. It’s a great philosophy and one that should be ringing out from the ways during the day. But, then you throw in Turkey dinner, the stress of building a meal as per tradition, you throw in different stories and focuses or you try to make it about appreciation and end up wondering how to do it differently than Easter or Christmas... than solstices and nature holidays... what makes Thanksgiving stand out?
I’ve been a parent for 14 years this Wednesday. 14 years. And for 14 years I’ve been looking for a way to bring specialness into each holiday, how to bring spiritual awareness and emotion into each celebration, so it didn’t get overcast with stress and anticipation.
And this year, Thanksgiving was finally created.
It happened quite by accident really. My younger daughter (who’s the party planner by nature) and I were talking and she was making decorations and activities for her and her brother. The usual What am I thankful for stuff.. as well as place mats for dinner. We were talking about how to make it different, more celebratory; especially since her older sister had commented that we never really “do” Thanksgiving. (What a thought, I was horrified... theoretically it was my favorite holiday... and we’d never “done” it.)
And then the thought flowed in.
We decided to write letters and cards to each other, telling each other what we appreciated about each other. For an hour in the afternoon my children and I filled envelopes telling each other how wonderful each other were. It was an incredible feeling space to spend time in, writing down all the wonderful aspects that make them themselves. We decorated them and made them special, letting them light up the table that night.
I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of opening my envelope that evening. I was focused on what I appreciated about each of them, but to read what they appreciated about me; well it made me cry in overwhelming joy.
In my upcoming course Spiritual Kids, building foundations for the Spiritual Aware Family, I offer an exercise in the appreciation board; a wipeboard you hang in the kitchen to leave comments on what you appreciate about other people in the house. The idea came from my friend Elizabeth  over at and I fell in love with the idea right away.
But this little ceremony we did on Thanksgiving was a flood of the feeling of appreciation and thankfulness. A perfect new tradition for a perfect holiday.
What followed was a discussion about what we appreciated about other people we knew, other family members, friends and acquaintances. That too was an incredible experience, as we didn’t always pick the easiest names... we didn’t see the people we chose very often or we didn’t know them very well. It stretched our thankfulness muscles... which of course is what Thanksgiving should be for!
A little different than the stereotypical “what are you thankful for?” but as my husband points out, that version of Thanksgiving should happen every day.
But noticing the little things about people you know and bringing them up over a candlelit, fancy dinner while exchanging letters of appreciation with the people you love.... followed by pumpkin pie... now that is a celebration indeed.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Whether it was this past weekend for you or in a month’s time! <3

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Wouldn't it be nice.... if?

We all have desires and wishes, for our family and for ourselves.
We all see things we don’t like within our lives, which we get used to complaining or grumbling about on the surface, and yet, stuck in our patterns of homeostasis, we are unwittingly unable to shift to that which we’ve wished for.
 We are told to find the feeling space of the ideal, the vibration of the desired outcome for our children, our home or ourselves, but sometimes that is too big of thing to find. Sometimes it feels too far away to feel it. Sometimes we don’t want to think of it, worried that the “wish” will get pushed away if we focus on it.
When people start learning about the law of attraction they sometimes worry  about every thought and word. They suck them back, scared to let their thoughts settle on anything for more than a second. Or they got caught up in the search for what they Really wanted, closing more options than opening up to them.
Because, although we might have things we don’t like, often we just can’t see our way out of living with them. We are designed for balance, for maintaining that sameness, not too hot, not too cold... just the same.
But we all want to unleash the power of those hidden desires. The ones that just would make life feel better, even if we can’t put our fingers on exactly what they are.
Do you want a little trick to tapping into them?
Try finishing the sentence: Wouldn’t it be nice if.....
Just try. I’ll wait here.
See the interesting thing about finishing off that thought, is that it acts like a door to our imagination and our subconscious. We are literally asking our spirit what do you want?
But without the weight of logically breaking it down, making lists or really committing to it.
We are just asking our spirit, what would you like to experience...
What would be nice for you?
Not, spectacular, not detailed extravaganza. It can be as general as you like, or as specific.
The only rule... it has to feel nice.
Where does the phrase take you?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have everyone play well together? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more money?
Wouldn’t it be nice if I could offer my children more opportunities? Wouldn’t it be nice to travel?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have more time? Wouldn’t it be nice to go on a date? Wouldn’t it be nice to have more room? Wouldn’t it be nice to find a great school? To homeschool?
Sometimes even starting a phrase with I wish... leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths. It feels like we aren’t appreciating what we already have, it leaves us feeling dissatisfied with our life.
The simple phase of Wouldn’t it be nice, suggests to our lovely friend homestasis that we are playing a game with ourselves so we have a free pass to imagine new changes without trying to shift out of our usual day to day patterns. Instead our imagination lets go and we are taken to places we didn’t really let sink into our plans.
And then we let them go.
Let them go in a good way.
Now, it’s important not to let that little niggling voice in, the one that says “oh how could that happen?”
So, simply reply to it... “I’m just saying it would be nice. Let the universe figure out the hows.”
Because really, that’s the trick isn’t it. We are active components in this life. There are a million ways things can transpire. I mean, I was just hearing  a real life story of someone having a bag of money fall of a truck! It’s about alignment, not plans.
So, even if it’s as simple as having a more organized house, the simple phrase;
Wouldn’t it be nice if the house was more organized?
Acts like a genie as you can focus on what that feels like without effort.
Such a better feeling than...
I wish the house was cleaner.... (sigh)
The house is always disorganized... I’m the one who always cleans up....  (ugh!!!!)
Wouldn’t it be nice if...
 Releases, relaxes and requests.
 And then allows you to see how it unfolds.

Monday, September 26, 2016

An indicator of disconnection

Have you ever noticed that when you aren't feeling like yourself, your voice starts flying into your head?
When we are stressed, our energy is focused in our heads, and then we get ungrounded... the faster we get the tighter our voices get and therefore we can actually feel and hear them drifting into "head voice". A simple process is to talk slower, and work your voice down to a fuller place within you and then you can feel your energy sink down within you too, grounding you within your body.
This video is talking about this in greater detail as well as talking about finding this with your children and helping them hear their own disconnection.
Love and light!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mantras For Mommas- a guest post and free coloring pages!

I am so to be excited to be able to present this guest blog with you. When I connected with Elly we were eager to find a way to share her work of a specially created a Mantras For Mommas Coloring
Book and Journal and she has generously included 2 pages from the book in this post.
You can download them from here
The following post is by Elly Blanco Rowe... and it embraces so many elements we usually discuss here. I'm excited to see what a perfect fit this is.
Be well and enjoy.

My goodness, as parents we are stressed and stretched beyond belief. We set these unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others. I say we because I have done the same. I grew up believing everything had to be a certain way for the outcome to be perfect. It took me a long time to figure out there is no perfect result.

We raise our children in the best way that we can but at the end of the day our toddlers will still have tantrums at the most inappropriate time our preteens will roll their eyes at us, and our teenagers will leave home to create their life.

Our children grow, and we grow with them.

After starting my coaching business, I knew that I wasn’t alone in thinking I was a horrible mother. I wasn’t alone in believing that I could no longer do for myself because my children came first. My thinking was wrong, but I knew I wasn’t alone in thinking this way.

As I brainstormed the details for my coloring book, Mantras for Mommas, I thought about all the challenging moments we face as women/mothers and all the negative conversations we have with ourselves. I realized that women don’t take time out for themselves to rest and rejuvenate because our primary concern is our children.

Yes, we need to care for our children. Yes, we need to make sure they are healthy and happy but who refills our love bucket? Who makes sure that our needs are met? Who makes certain that we are happy?

Well, I quickly realized that we need to do this for ourselves. When we do focus on loving ourselves, promoting positive self-talk and creating moments that fill our love bucket, we feel more in control of our lives so that we can make better choices.

In Mantras for Mommas - A Coloring Book and Journal, I share with you over 40 pages of images with affirmations that align with what women who are mothers face in their daily lives. The affirmations are meant to counteract the negative messages we tell ourselves while giving us a creative outlet to express our feelings. I am sharing with you two free pages for you to try:

Affirmation: “Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful.”

Affirmation: “There is no such thing as a perfect mom, but I am their perfect mom.”

I want you to use these affirmations to remind yourself that the word perfect only holds the definition we give it. What I mean is that being perfect in this world doesn’t exist, we only exist in our version of perfect lives. A perfect life for you can mean having a messy house, but tons of fun at the playground, or it can mean being a working mom who spends 3 hours of solid quality time with her children. You define what perfect means for you.

After you print your image, set aside 20 minutes for yourself. Get out your favorite coloring tools and sit in a space that allows you to be reflective. Take a deep breathe and release your breath into the page. Before you start to color, read the affirmation at the top of the page. Allow the message to sit with you for a minute or two, then begin coloring. As you color, repeat the messaging to yourself so that it vibrates with your soul as you color.

I hope you enjoy these pages. I would love to see your creations unfold; please send me pictures of your artwork to I will post them on Instagram and my website.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My September 2001 love story

15 years ago.
When 9/11 hit I was in Glastonbury, having been pulled to visit there on a spiritual quest. Spirit had called me and I had answered. No, really. I kid you not. I had found myself in the UK quite suddenly having said I was going out of the blue. The plan was barely out of my mouth when the money showed up by chance. So, for September 2001,  I was backpacking, writing a novel and researching a spiritual documentary program for youth I was writing for Channel 5. I’d traveled down to Cornwall only to be spiritually told in the middle of the night, get to Glastonbury on the 7am bus.
I’d gotten in the habit of listening to that calling. So onto the bus I jumped.
September 11th  I walked into the tourist board and the attendant shakily told me about the twin towers. I rushed to my hostel where I found my fellow travelers gathered around the television. The day, like for everyone in the world was a blur of phone calls, news programs and pandemonium. Life in the world had gone where we never thought it could.
I wondered what I was doing there. I promised my mom to come home as soon as I could get a ticket back (why flying seemed like the logical choice is beyond me) . I scorned my inner callings and felt mislead. However, I was still in Glastonbury, with nothing to do to help the world crisis, I finally realized  I might as well tend my soul.
I decided to shift focus the next day and take in some of the spiritual offerings Glastonbury had to offer while I was there.  I went to Yoga in an old castle like building, visited the ancient Glastonbury Abbey (where legend has Jesus visiting and helping build the first church dedicated to Mary). I planned my evening around something called the Michael Teachings and ending with a meditation class but first headed back to the hostel to grab a quick bite.
You know, being there for the initial crisis had been surreal. A sense of panic and yet loving community formed within that hostel common room. We ate food together, cried together, hugged each other and became friends.
But that next day... with the same footage being played and the same conversations circling and everyone unmoving, sitting in the same spots, waiting for new news: well it was rather eerie. We all sat in the vibration of despair and could literally do nothing to help on a global scale.
And what was stranger still was how I noticed it, and still almost got sucked in. I sat, I watched and I wondered whether I should skip the class I had planned to attend in order to stay in this space of community. But I resisted the group vibration and suddenly decided to remember Who I was and what I was there for.
I packed my bag and left.
Glastonbury is a wonderful little nook in South England, where every spiritual tradition crosses paths. It’s winding Tor, or hill, can be seen from every corner and magic is a way of life. Crystals, green men, Buddhism, Jesus and druids all walk here. Nothing is a surprise, yet nothing is taken for granted.
Meanwhile, deep in my heart, although I almost couldn’t believe it, I knew why I had been called there.
You see, over the years before, I’d always had this connection. At first it was a fairy tale, next it was a dream, a fantasy, but for the while before that day in England, I had been building the spiritual connection with a special someone. I’d never really dated, never gotten the hang of meeting someone to “see what happened.” There'd always seemed to be a glass wall between guys and me. So rather than break it down,  I’d slowly committed to a soul mate, one match for me, my twin flame. Before my spontaneous excursion, I’d imagined so much of life with him, that it felt so completely real... for all I knew, it was real.  I could feel Who He was, even though I’d never laid eyes on him. I wrote to him, sent myself too him and loved him from a space of spirit.
I had almost given up, telling Source to forget it. I’d be single and focused on now.
That as the night before the bus ride to Glastonbury at 7am.
And so, as I followed and followed my heart, I knew the direction she would surely lead me.
The spiritual meeting on the Michael Teachings was at 7pm and I figured I wouldn’t stay for the whole thing as my meditation class was at 8pm. I sat near the back, in the middle of the row, a decision which confused me because, really I was going to have to sneak out probably.
But it was too late to move. The presentation had begun.
A few minutes later footsteps came up the stairs and a man walked in sat down beside me.
The hairs stood up on my neck, but I tried to focus on the lecture.
A few moments later  I asked a question to seem engaged, but the presenter didn’t understand my point.
The man next to me finished off my thought... I turned... eyes met.... world stopped... magic.
Yes, it happened. The world stopped. And you know that flustered, try to find reality feeling after.
I tried to take notes, packed my notebook as the clock neared 8pm.
But that inner voice popped in again, telling me to say yes to a drink if he asked me out.
I resisted. I got ready to go. Pretending the floor wasn’t opening up under me and swallowing me up.
The lecture ended and suddenly, this gorgeous, wonderful man with the blue eyes asked me out for a drink.
I, of course, said yes.
We walked the street talking all night. The next day he took me up the Tor in the rain and to the Chalice Well. We were together from that moment on.
Within 2 weeks we were engaged, 3 weeks later I was back in Canada and late October, my “fiancĂ©” flew in to meet my family.
So, why am I telling you this story?
Well, aside from the fact that tomorrow is Fletcher Day, the day that our family celebrates my husband and I meeting as the day our family begun, but also because every day it reminds me of something; something that is a foundational point in all of my work.
We are more than these physical forms. When we connect to our highest, spiritual versions of ourselves and our source, anything is possible. Solutions flow from anywhere in ways we could never expect or plan.
Arthur O'Shaughnessy  wrote “We are the Music  Makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
No matter how bonded we feel to the physical reality and “facts” that are in front of us, no matter what our logical brains chatter to us all day long, especially as parents, there is a deeper source of consciousness always at work, producing magic. We have to let it flow through us. We have to allow ourselves to know it’s there.
I later could look back at our story and call the experience the law of attraction. I’d created the feeling space of connection and it was created. But, although I teach and offer tools for the law of attraction daily, although I know its power, I also don’t want to forget the mystical experience this journey was and always is. There was more than creating the feeling, there was a divine, spiritual orchestration, the sense of timelessness, where future, past and present completely combined together seamlessly and it was in the listening, the trusting, and the allowing that it could come forth; all in the perfect time.
This is a love story, but it’s also a story of potential and I’m sharing it with you today to simply remind you to allow love, light, magic and the spectacular into your life, for then it will flood every corner of it and lift you to places that you never dreamt possible.
Let your spirit soar and enjoy the sights. For that is exactly what we are here to do.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Learning to Learn- The Homeschool Balance

As a homeschooling mom, September brings something out in me. Each August I go to the school supply aisles with wonder and excitement. Each Labour day I contemplate the school year ahead and ask myself, how will it go this year?
The thing is, there’s been good years and not so good of years on our homeschooling journey. There’s been years when my daughters have felt they didn’t quite grasp what they wanted to... there’s been times I’ve felt I didn’t set them up as best as I could. Don’t get me wrong, they always learn but  it’s our own sense of satisfaction I’ve been looking for.
I’m always asked about homeschooling, especially since I work from home as well. Early on in the adventure I stressed and tormented myself... and our girls. I had the chalkboard, I had the schedule I had the workbooks. It was school... at home.
But after our son came earthside, it didn’t work as well. Oh let’s face it. Our younger daughter lived with her head in her hands. She’d hated the school regime. So we did some unschooling, we did workbooks, we had lots of experiences... and they read A LOT!
Fast forward 8 years. Each daughter has developed different curriculum suited to their learning styles. Our eldest likes to push ahead, while our younger girl was using an alternative program for math, and we compile a whole other group of resources for the other topics. This year, we’re switching it up a bit, with both girls on a guided curriculum with a daily schedule online. We’ll supplement and sometimes replace, but still, we’re going for more focused. It just feels like the right time.
And then there’s our boy-o.
For all of last year and the year before it was unschooling for him. He didn’t want to learn, he wanted to play and that was encouraged. But this year something happened: He got bored.
Now, I’m the first one to set the dial for play based learning and exploration. It’s my preferred method for myself. But there comes a time when the imagination can’t fathom where we want to go.
Sometimes as a parent we have to help the stretch by other putting out other options or resetting patterns and habits.
Following the Waldolf approach of delayed reading until 7, my son was told enough... he’s now 7.
He’s enrolled in a reading program online, and he’s starting the routine that his sisters are doing as of tomorrow.
At first, last week when we started molding our days to a school routine he fought me on it. After breakfast we all meet for yoga, and I thought our boy would pull a ligament with his lack of focus and flip-floppiness. He resisted reading practice and used every excuse in the book. It was so hard to stop myself from just saying “play. Go for it.” But we made a few deals and eased it in slowly. I wasn’t going it make it a miserable experience, but an self awareness building one. He knew he felt better with focus, but reading practice counted for a certain amount of play etc.
By the end of the day our son had a light in his eye and a skip in his step. He felt more focused and satisfied with himself. He felt taken care of and that he’d grown up a little bit more. He felt confident and ready to tackle the next day.
Which, by the way, went much better. He did yoga with intention and did the meditation exercise at the end. He asked for his reading program and complied to the practice with me. He was conscious of his own development and how much happier he felt when he had things he was working on.
He’s starting to learn how to learn and learn that learning can feel good.
So, although throughout this blog and my work I talk about feeling good and striving to help our children find the joyous connection that they naturally have, I really want to stress that sometimes we, as parents, get an off feeling and feel we have to act on something. We feel we have to take over and insist on something to expand and move forward. And, as long as it comes from a connected, happy place, spiritually, this is what our children want. But, that ol’ homeostasis works for them too, you know. 80% of themselves, will resist to any change, even if they are spiritually bored.
So if there’s one thing homeschooling has taught me it’s to stay in the moment, stay aware and listen to how things feel. If your child playing with mudpies all day feels fantastic and you get joy of watching them: it’s exactly right. If they’re still doing it 3 years later, they are feeling restless but don’t know what else to do and something feels off to you, then explore setting up something else. Help your children break their own negative habits and help them notice the process for their own awareness.

The same went for our daughter who loves to play her way through learning. This year I realized she wasn’t feeling very confident in her own knowledge and progress; out comes the new system and a bit more work. Through learning she is developing an awareness of herself, and appreciates the after effects, where she can play without that nagging feeling that she should be doing something for expansion.